Objective: There is currently no agreement as to which bedside test is the most useful for the diagnosis of PAD in diabetes. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the performance of bedside tests for the detection of PAD in individuals with diabetes.
Research design and methods: MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were systematically searched for studies providing data on diagnostic performance of bedside tests used for the detection of PAD in people with diabetes. A meta-analysis was performed to obtain pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of PAD.
Results: A total of 18 studies, reporting on a total of 3016 limbs of diabetic patients, were included in our qualitative review. Of these, eleven studies (1543 limbs) were included in the meta-analysis of diagnostic accuracy: ankle-brachial pressure index (ABPI, 9 studies, 1368 limbs, sensitivity 63.5% [95% CI 51.7-73.9%], specificity 89.3% [95% CI 81.1-94.2%]); toe-brachial pressure index (TBPI, 3 studies, 221 limbs, sensitivity 83.0% [95% CI 59.1-94.3%], specificity 66.3% [95% CI 41.3-84.6%]); and tibial waveform assessment (4 studies, 397 limbs, sensitivity 82.8% [95% CI 73.3-89.4%], specificity 86.8% [95% CI 75.5-93.3%]). Overall, there was a high risk of bias across studies, most frequently relating to patient selection and lack of blinding.
Conclusions: TBPI, pulse oximetry and tibial arterial waveform assessment have demonstrated some promise, warranting further investigation.
Keywords: Diabetes; diabetic foot; diagnosis; foot ulcer; peripheral arterial disease.